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Ripple, the company behind the cryptocurrency with the same name, announced on Thursday that the National Commercial Bank (NCB), also known as AlAhli Bank, joined RippleNet after the blockchain firm conducted a pilot with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. The NCB is the first bank founded in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the second largest bank in the Arab world. With over 5.4 million clients worldwide, the bank practices Islamic banking and finance and plans to turn into a fully Islamic bank within the next few years. Earlier, the Saudi British Bank joined R3’s blockchain ecosystem.

https://twitter.com/Ripple/status/1040457636473384960

NCB will have the opportunity to connect with other banks and financial companies worldwide via the RippleNet network. Also, the bank will be able to use Ripple’s blockchain solution, which enables faster and transparent cross-border payment services. RippleNet’s member list includes banking giants like Santander, BBVA, UBS, Standard Chartered, and Mizuho among others. The NCB will first connect to North American and Asian banks, starting with Singapore. The two payment channels will allow NCB’s clients to access services in new regions for the first time. 

Ripple said in the announcement that Saudi Arabia had been one of the most important remittance sources in the world in the last decade. The World Bank estimated that, in 2016, about $308 million was sent into the country and $37 million from the country.

Elsewhere, on Tuesday, the Saudi British Bank (SABB), an associate of HSBC, joined the blockchain ecosystem led by R3. Thus, SABB is the first bank in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to become part of this kind of consortium.

SABB managing director David Dew commented: “We are extremely pleased to join R3 which puts SABB at the cutting edge of financial innovation, giving our clients all the far-reaching advantages of transaction-speed and security that flow from the DLT based solutions.”